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Baclayon Church
Province:  Bohol
09° 37.334N   123° 54.732E
Listed in Gallery:   Old Church

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Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon

The Church of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Baclayon is considered to be one of the oldest churches in the Philippines. It is one of the best presevered Jesuit build churches in the region, although in the 19th century, the Augustinian Recollects added a modern facade and a number of stone buildings that now surround the church. The first Spanish missionaries or doctrineros in the region, Fr. Juan de Torres and Fr. Gabriel Sanchez, first settled in Baclayon in 1595. Shortly after their arrival, a visita was erected on the spot.

Although Baclayon was the first seat of the Spanish Jesuit missionaries, fear of Moro mauraders soon forced them to move their headquarters more inland, to Loboc. Only in 1717, Baclayon became a parish, and construction of a new church commenced. Some 200 native forced laborers constructed the church from coral stones, which they took from the sea, cut into square blocks, and piled on to each other. They used bamboo to move and lift the stones in position, and used the white of a million eggs as to cement them together. The current building was completed in 1727. The church obtained a large bell in 1835. In the Baclayon church is a dungeon, which was used to punish natives who violated the rules of the Roman Catholic church.

Next to the church is the old convent, which also houses a small museum with centuries-old religious relics, artifacts and other antiquities, dating back to the 16th century. Included in the collection are an ivory statue of the crucified Christ looking towards heaven; a statue of the Blessed Virgin, said to be presented by Queen Catherine of Aragon; relics of St. Ignatius of Loyola, old gold embroidered ecclesiastical vestments, books with carabao skin covers, and librettos of church music written in Latin on sheep skins. Here you can also find the cuadro paintings made by the Filipino painter Liberato Gatchalian in 1859.

Getting there:

From Tagbiliran RORO Port: Baclayon is some 6 km east of Tagbilaran. Catch a bus or jeepney in Tagbilaran, going into the direction of Baclayon. You may also find a tricycle willing to bring you there.

From Tubigon RORO Port: Either rent a tour van/car or have a vehicle RORO via Tubigon Port. You will have no direction problems if you take the tour vans for hire (PHP 2,500 for airconditioned vehicles and PHP 1,500 for multicab non aircon vehicles. I suggest you get the airconditioned vehicle because there are very dusty and hot roads. You can easily get one fronting the municipal building of Tubigon). For owned vehicles, the fastest way is to take the south bound Bohol road (coastal road, western part of bohol island), make your way through towns like: Lomboy and Loon until you have reached Tagbilaran. from Tagbilaran, still continue down the road south and ultimately south east direction until you will reach Baclayon town.

Waypoint narrative by: paulperez 2005     follow paulperez on Facebook